Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Help still needed on tarpon study

making news

after awards, help still needed on tarpon study

Florida's tarpon anglers have helped biologists learn much about the migration and reproduction of tarpon, one of the state's premiere sportfish. The Florida Guides Association and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced the winners of the annual Spirit of Tarpon DNA Sampling Challenge.

Anglers who participated in the Challenge collected DNA samples that helped track the movements, habits and recapture rates of tarpon in coastal and inshore waters. The study, which has been going on since 2005, utilizes information collected by anglers who submitted samples and information about their catches using a free, easy-to-use tarpon DNA sampling kit. Nearly 20,000 samples have been collected.

Collier County angler John Manuel won the Grand Prize with 125 tarpon. Tampa Bay Times Captain's Corner correspondent Ed Walker claimed the West Coast title with 93 tarpon caught and released. Russell Kleppinger of North Miami won the East Coast category with 54. John Jackson of Key West took the Florida Keys prize with 74 tarpon samples. These anglers contributed to the 3,386 total tarpon sampled last year.

While a significant amount of information about tarpon in the southern portion of the state has been gathered in past years, researchers now need information about tarpon in the northern part of Florida. The 2014 Challenge will focus on waters from Brevard County and Pasco County north. Participants have until mid January to submit their samples. Winners will be announced that month.

Obtain a free, easy-to-use tarpon DNA sampling kit by emailing [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-367-4461.

Compiled by Terry Tomalin. Send your news and notes to tt[email protected] or call (727) 893-8808.

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